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Kaiapoi Borough School

Region: Canterbury/Chatham Islands

Art form: Craft/Object

Project name: Creative Kaitiaki - Connecting Through Craft

Creative name: Simone Bensdorp

Project information: Being the first primary school of the area, Kaiapoi Borough School holds strong historical connections both to the environment and to the community it resides in. We believe that for our students to feel that identity and place of belonging, it is important to have opportunity to explore their sense of place in the area we live and the history it holds. 

The cultural narrative of our school is based strongly around the awa of the area, creating our building names around nets used on the river from past iwi. Our values of whakawhanaungatanga (community), huatututanga me auehatanga (innovation), pono (integrity), and manaakitanga (respect) have strong influence on our students’ well-being, harbouring positive relationships, and creating healthy belief systems about ourselves as individuals and as a collective. 

Our creative aims for this project are for students to experience both the influence of our cultural narrative and values whilst exploring their local environment. We want them to create a sense of pride in their place by using their river (the Kaiapoi River) to forage for natural materials. Then using these natural materials learn the process of dye making and dye application to their use on their own hand-crafted felt artworks. Each student will have the opportunity to create two felt works, one to add to a school collaborative work and the other an individual piece to take home. By doing this, they will be able to feel the sense of achievement and pride one needs for positive well-being, by adding to a work that is part of their place (our school), as well as sharing this pride and these new skills with whānau at home. 

The collaborative artwork will be based around the awa and cultural narrative of the school and will remind students, staff, and whānau of their connection to place and each other. Students will also link to the local curriculum over this time by being given the opportunity to think about their role as kaitiaki of our river, and our place as citizens in the wider community.

Project starting: March 2022

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